Friday, October 17, 2014

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras addressed the European Union-Asia Summit Meeting in Milan on October 16. Greece has become a hub in energy security after the opening of the Southern Gas Corridor, which linked Caspian Sea deposits with Europe’s energy markets, the premier said, adding that the project was about building bridges of cooperation in the energy sector.

Samaras said that it was crucial Europe diversify its energy sources and the routes of its supply to ensure more energy independence. He also spoke of Greece’s efforts to promote hydrocarbon research on its territory, noting the international calls for tenders for research and drilling in the Ionian Sea and south of the island of Crete, and said the collaboration of Europe and Asia extended beyond trade and economy to academic and tourism exchanges as well.
  • Meeting with Chinese Counterpart
On the sidelines of the Summit, Antonis Samaras discussed Greek – Chinese collaboration on energy projects and rare earth mining with Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang. Samaras confirmed Greece’s willingness to support China on all issues concerning the improvement of its relations with the EU.

Li Keqiang expressed satisfaction with the Cosco investment in the port of Piraeus, the largest in southeast Mediterranean, and the prospect of its expansion.

At the same time, he made clear that China is interested in the ongoing Greek privatization program, which includes, amongst others, the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos,” the national railways and the Kastelli Airport.

In the light of recent development at the Athens Stock Exchange which suffered losses, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Jyrki Katainen stated on October 17 that the EU will continue to support Greece and ensure "reasonable financing conditions" after the end of the current programme. In a written statement, Katainen noted among others, that Greece has made immense progress in creating a more competitive economy and a robust financial sector; “there should be no doubt that Europe will continue to assist Greece in whatever way is necessary to ensure reasonable financing conditions for the Greek state and to smooth the path back to full and sustainable market access,” he added.

Speaking in parliament on October 16, Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis stated [in Greek]: "The climate that emerged in markets in recent days does not reflect the outlook or the potential of the Greek economy." Furthermore, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance Tasos Anastasatos said (16.10) that the abrupt yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds on Wednesday and Thursday (15-16.10) is related to an unjustified concern abroad about the future of the Greek economy.

British members of parliament (MPs) have called for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece during culture questions in the British Parliament on October16.

In particular, Liberal Democrat Andrew George said "parading stolen booty in the otherwise excellent British Museum" brings "shame on this country," as he raised the matter during culture questions on October 15. Culture Minister Helen Grant told MPs UNESCO was ready to facilitate mediation, and that the government would consider the proposal "and respond in due course adding though that the sculptures are "legally owned" by the British Museum, which "provides access to all, free of charge."

However, Labour backbencher Jeremy Corbyn argued that the items were "stolen" from the people of Greece, adding that there are "very strong feelings" about the matter in Greece, and suggested relations with the country could be improved "if we constructively engage with a view to returning some, if not all, of these items."

See also BBC Democracy Live House of Commons: Return Parthenon Sculptures to Greece (October 16, 2014)

"Elpis" ('hope' in Greek), a philanthropic advisory firm aiming to bridge investment issues and philanthropic purposes in Greece and abroad, is holding an international event focusing on The Creative Economy - an Infinite Opportunity for Growth. It will be held on October 18 at the Acropolis Museum and is supported by the British Council in Greece. 

The event will present The Orange Economy, an important study on Creative Economy in the Caribbean region and Latin America, which was published in 2013. The arts, culture, sports, tourism, music, new technologies, publishing activities, architecture, design, advertising and various other branches of what is called "creative economy" are estimated to contribute 3-7% to a country’s GDP.

On 15 October, former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt received an honorary doctorate of the University of Athens from the Law Faculty’s President and Dean, during a ceremony in the city hall of Hamburg, Germany. He was awarded the honorary doctorate as an acknowledgement of his important role in promoting European integration.

Schmidt, a Social Democratic (SPD) politician, served as Chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982. While in office, he focused on international affairs, seeking "political unification of Europe."

Alexandria Quartet, a solo exhibition by artist Andreas Georgiadis, inspired by the homonymous tetralogy of novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell (1957), will be hosted at the Library of Alexandria, on the occasion of its 12th anniversary.

The exhibition will be inaugurated on 18 October and is co-organised by the Consulate General of Greece in Alexandria. After Alexandria, the exhibition will be transferred to Cairo (Medieval Palace of Amir Taz) and will be placed under the auspices of the Greek Cultural Centre in Cairo and the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.